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"[A] chilling debut novel." -- The New York Times Book Review
A young woman agrees to star in a filmmaker's latest project, but soon realizes the movie is not what she expected in this chilling debut novel.
In the wake of her father's death, Betty Roux doesn't allow herself to mourn. Instead, she pushes away her mother, breaks up with her boyfriend, and leaves everything behind to move to New York City. She doesn't know what she wants, except to run.
When she's offered the chance to play the leading role in mysterious indie filmmaker Anthony Marino's new project, she jumps at the opportunity. For a month Betty will live in a cabin on a private island off the coast of Maine, with a five-person cast and crew. Her mother warns against it, but Betty is too drawn to the charismatic Anthony to say no.
Anthony gives her a new identity--Lola--and Betty tells herself that this is exactly what she's been looking for. The chance to reinvent herself. That is, until they begin filming and she meets Sammy, the island's caretaker, and Betty realizes just how little she knows about the movie and its director.
Fledgling 24-year-old actor Betty Roux, the narrator of Larsen's suspenseful but largely unbelievable debut, can't believe her astonishingly good fortune: being cast by indie director of the moment Anthony Marino to star opposite heartthrob Mads Byrne in Anthony's new movie, which is inspired by the 1962 revenge film Cape Fear. But no sooner does the emotionally vulnerable Betty and the rest of the five-person cast and crew arrive on location a small island off the coast of Maine owned by Anthony's family and throughout which he's hidden cameras for reality-TV-style coverage and meet creepy caretaker Sammy O'Neill than she begins having serious concerns about exactly what she signed up for. Especially once she discovers she's a dead ringer for Sammy's first girlfriend, who he says broke his heart. As Anthony intended, increasingly fraught confrontations ensue, most as predictable as the storm that cuts off power at the worst possible moment. Assured pacing and the knockout punch of a surprise ending help compensate for unconvincing characters and plot clich s. Larsen's storytelling potential suggests she'll do better next time.